Here in Colorado, we start on April 1, to assemble tables and prepare to plant the seeds in pots by April 15. This allows the plants to germinate and grow for the next 6 weeks, before being planted in the fields by June 1.
This is what the greenhouse looked like after construction was completed.
Stocking and placing cinder block, plywood, and the first bags of potting soil.
We built several tables at a good height to facilitate spreading out the peat pots.The pots are 2.5"x 2.5" wide and 3 " deep. They are made of pressed peat, and work well to keep the potting soil moist, and we can put them right into the ground. This eliminates shock to the plant and its roots when putting them into the ground.
Next, we start to mix our potting soil. We spread a tarp over one table, with additional 1x6" sides to hold the soil in. We are adding perlite. These white chunks allow water to drain through the soil, to prevent soil clumping. Hemp plants don't like their roots in standing water. The peat pots also have holes in the bottom for drainage.
We are adding Azomite to the mix. This is an amazing amendment, found only in Utah. It contains all 50+ trace minerals the plants need as they grow, both in the greenhouse and later in the fields.
Worm castings are very high in nitrogen and are considered to be the best fertilizer you can buy.
All these products are thoroughly mixed together.
Now we dump buckets of the soil mix into the pots, spreading it to fill in each pot. We press lightly, add more, and bring the soil to the top of the pots.
We are soaking the pots and soil several times so the soil is moist and will hold the water.
We are placing a hole 1/4" deep. Too deep, and the new leaves can't push away enough soil to catch the sun. Now we are ready for seeds.
This is the size of the box that we received the seeds in. It came to the mailbox on the street at the entrance to our 600 ft drive. It held $10,000 worth of seeds! No insurance, no signature required, or notice that it was even being shipped!
This is what the packages look like.Each package has 4,000 seeds. Each variety has specific potency, plant sites, flower shapes, and distinctive flavors and smell. In addition to these 2 varieties, we also grew CBD White and Suver Haze. These are feminized, which I will explain more about in a later post.
This is the size of one seed, and a shot of about 50 in the palm of my hand. Each seed costs $1. we didn't want to drop any or double plant.
We carefully place one seed per hole and gently cover.
The pots are put in plastic trays and transferred to the plywood sheets. In subsequent plantings we put them all on raised tables to spare our backs.
This is what 10,000 plants looks like in the greenhouse.
So exciting to see the plants poke through the soil after 4-5 days!
After a few more days, the second set of leaves emerge. The white chunks are perlite.
A ladybug found a nice spot to rest. Ladybugs are welcome on the farm, as they eat aphids and other harmful pests. Many people buy large quantities of ladybugs to protect the plants throughout the life cycle. Only trouble is, you can't teach them to stay on your fields.
We need to water 3 times a day, lightly misting them because the stems are fragile. Gradually we increase the force of the water.
The leaves in first sunlight of the day. They are tracking the sunlight, turning to the east. I usually played the Beatle's song, "Here Comes the Sun" for them. At night they rest in the warm greenhouse. They grow fastest in warm air, and in spring in Colorado it can be rainy and cold.
I forgot to tell about the water. Young plants don't like chlorine at the roots, so we put the water through a chlorine filter, into a food grade barrel, then pumped to the plants through garden hoses and overhead misters.
Next post will be more on the rest of the infrastructure, while the plants grow and strengthen.